Saudi national, wife suspected of terror links nabbed in Cotabato City

A CIDG operative shows the warrant to Saudi national Adel Sulaiman Alsubahani in his residence Wednesday (9 December 2020). Photo courtesy of CIDG-BARMM

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 10 December) – A Saudi national suspected of having links to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was arrested around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in a raid on his rented house in Barangay Balabaran here.

Adel Sulaiman Alsubahani was arrested together with his Filipina wife, Norhaya Silongan Lumanggal.

Alsubahani is allegedly “East Asia facilitator” of ISIS and linked to the Dawlah Islamiya Mindanao.

Police Major Esmael Madin, officer-in-charge of the Criminal Detection and Investigation Group in the Bangsamoro region said the couple were arrested with a warrant of arrest for having links to the terror group.

“The operation was codenamed Oplan Paglalansag Omega. The suspects were under surveillance and were monitored attempting to bring more Arabs in[to] the Philippines,” he said.

Confiscated during the raid were an improvised explosive device and components, a laptop, mobile phones, a memory card, a flash drive, five passports, two saving account passbooks, a credit card linked to Alraji Bank and other documents which were considered significant to the investigation.

In an interview over a local radio station, BGen. Samuel Rodriguez, police regional director in the Bangsamoro region said the suspect had been tailed by operatives and international intelligence counterparts who validated his activities.

Alsubahani was said to have been sighted entering the SPMS box in Maguindanao, a reported lair of Dawlah Islamiyah Mindanao led by Esmael Abdulmalik a.k.a. Alyal Abu Turayfie as well as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

SPMS refers to the town of Shariff Aguak, Pagatin (Datu Saudi Ampatuan), Mamasapano and Datu Salibo.

“He entered the country in 2015. He fronted as an IT businessman. He was married to a Maguindanaon Filipina,” Rodriguez said.

Neighbors of the suspect in Barangay Balabaran said they were shocked to learn about the fate of their foreigner-neighbor who is known to them as Adel.

“He used to be seen teaching Arabic to children here,” according to a neighbor who refused to be identified.

Police said Adel is connected to the Ugur Suleyman Soylemez orphanage, a Turkish-sponsored foundation in Purok Datu Ali, Tamontaka 1 in Cotabato City.

The suspects and their families were yet to give a statement to the media on their version of the incident pending investigation.

Alsubahani supposedly met his wife a year ago on a plane to Cotabato City and they married in the same year.

Bangsamoro Parliament Member Mohammad Hashim called on residents of the region not to be swayed by foreign instigators teaching a wrong interpretation of Islam.

“I hope they will not be influenced by these foreign elements; they must have to return to the real teachings of Koran and the Sunnah,” he said.

Earlier this month, Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guaini-Sayadi warned her constituents of terror threats and has stepped up security measures to avoid a repeat of the mall bombing on New Year’s Eve in 2018.

Last week, suspected BIFF and Dawlah Islamiyah Mindanao members attacked Datu Piang town in Maguindanao and burned a police car.

They attacked on Wednesday night an Army detachment in Barangay Labu-labu in Shariff Aguak but were repulsed. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)